Google+ YA Romantics: If You Like Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Books...

Monday, March 12, 2012

If You Like Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Books...


Reclusive Bilbiophile's "If You Like" theme for the week is: The Giver by Lois Lowry.


The Giver (2002) is an amazing book -- a perfect dystopian story for middle grade and younger YA readers. But it's also great read for any age!


Since the publication of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, dystopian fiction has become all the rage. But there were plenty of YA dystopians published before The Hunger Games. Books like:


Uglies by Scott Westerfield

Feed by M T Anderson

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I've been thinking recently that I sometimes just throw around the term "dystopian" to mean "book that takes place in a world I don't want to live in." Sometimes I apply the term dystopian to books that are actually post-apocalyptic. A dystopian story takes place in a repressive and controlled society. A post-apocalyptic book takes place in a world that's undergone a major disaster -- a nuclear bomb or a pandemic.

So these books might be described as post-apocalyptic:


Ashes by Ilsa Bick

Life as We Know It By Susan Beth Pfeffer

Gone by Michael Grant


It seems to me that in a dystopian world, the characters are trying to cope with being overly controlled, while in a post-apocalyptic one, the characters are coping with chaos.

But I suppose a book could be both, right? First, a major disaster, then the repressive society develops in response.

What are some of your favorite dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic books? What do you see as the difference between the two?

19 comments:

  1. I tend to classify it all as dystopian too, I guess. My favorites are the Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched, Crossed, Wither, Fever, the Enclave, and now, Cinder!

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    1. I have not yet read the Enclave, but all those others are great, I agree :)

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  2. I have "extras" from scott westerfield i think. but i need the first book first...

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  3. Divergent is one of my fave dystopic's, and Blood Red Road is probably my fave post apocalyptic to date. I'm not sure if Delirium would qualify as a dystopic alone or a bit of both? Either way it's up there with the other two on my list of faves:) I just finished Pandemonium and am still reeling from it!

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    1. Waiting anxiously for Insurgent!

      Pandemonium!! I saw that cliffhanger coming toward the end. Like that moment on a roller coaster when you see the big drop and you're thinking, "Noooooooo!"

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  4. I think you have made the best definition of the difference between dystopian and post-apocalyptic that I have seen.

    Shanan
    http://thebookaddictnet.blogspot.com

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    1. That's so nice of you to say! I guess I wanted to figure it out and just thought I'd share...

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  5. I love this - "book that takes place in a world I don't want to live in." I guess I lump them in together sometimes. I liked ASHFALL by Mike Mullin.

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    1. LOL -- I looked at that book up at the event I volunteered at last weekend, thinking it seemed really interesting.

      Funny how a lot of post-apocalyptic books have Ash or Ashes in the title!

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  6. I love this post! :D Seriously, dystopian is now booming after Hunger Games. Its nice to see that some old dystopians like Uglies are kinda well-known too! I remember loving Uglies back then- and Gone too! Wow, I LOVE that series! :P There's another dystopian series called The Maze Runner- its really good, you should check it out!

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    1. I need to re-read those -- it's been awhile!!

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  7. My favorite genre is dystopian. I have so many favorites....
    Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie
    Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
    Divergent by Veronica Roth
    A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan
    Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    and of course...The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

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  8. I LOVE the Uglies series! And I just bought Feed for my Kindle. And I've been meaning to read The Handmaid's Tale forever! I've actually had it on a mental list of books to select for my book club, but I host next month and I had to pick Cinder because I really want to talk all about that one!

    And I think a lot of people overuse the term "dystopian," but it's good that you at least realize that and can distinguish between them! And yeah, there are plenty of books out there (like The Hunger Games) that technically were post-apocalyptic and dystopian (because something crazy happened to make the world the way it was in THG, and then all the districts formed, and the Capitol took over, etc.). I also read once (before my last turn at hosting book club, actually, when I was deciding to go with 1984 or Brave New World) that Aldous Huxley called Brave New World a "negative utopia." I guess this might have been the forerunner to the word "dystopia." But I kind of think of books as either "negative utopias" or "dystopias" sometimes. A negative utopia, to is somewhere where everything seems lovely but really isn't (like in Brave New World), and a dystopia is basically the opposite of a utopia, like 1984, where everyone is controlled and knows it, and isn't happy about it. But either way, I love them all! (Sorry for the horribly long comment!) ;)

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    1. I meant to say, "a negative utopia, to me, is..." Whoops.

      And of course, that's my own little strange way of thinking about it. ;)

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    2. I got what you meant. I'm queen of the typo over here. I'm a fast reader, a fast talker, a fast typer.

      Love the long comment. I mean, who can we talk to this stuff about besides other book people??

      And, I also agree that to me, a dystopian is a repressive society where the powers that be convince the people that they're living in a utopia. So part of the characters' journey is the realization that, whoa, this society is really messed up. Delirium is a great example = love is dangerous and bad for you so we're saving you from it. Then Lena realizes that's crazy.

      But hmmmmm.. Katniss knows that her society is messed, so maybe HG is post-dystopian? LOL.

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  9. I always thought of Hunger Games as being my first Dystopian, but I read the Giver years ago and I'm sure I've read others that were as well; Hunger Games just kicked off a Dystopian theme, sort of like Twilight did for Paranormals. I agree too that there is a difference between Dystopian and Paranormals, although it's often a very fine line.

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    1. The Giver is great. But I never was a huge fan of dystopians until Hunger Games.

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